Atumpan performs at Lunenburg Middle

Published 11:02 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pulsing drum beats — compliments of Corey and LaQuita Marie Staten —greeted the children of Lunenburg Middle School as they made their way into the gymnasium.

The couple is from Young Audiences of Virginia, and they performed “Atumpan” Tuesday, Feb. 2, at the school as part of a Black Heritage Month program sponsored by the nonprofit Lunenburg Charity Fund.

The performance, made up largely of call-and-response interaction with the students, ties together the story-telling tradition of the African griot with today’s hip-hop DJs.

“The (creation) is different, but the griot and emcee both had the job of telling the story,” said Corey “The Talented Blind Guy” Staten.

“It’s musical; it’s interactive.”

During the hour-long performance the artists had the students play instruments and accompany them in songs; dance (including faculty and administrators); and perform in African fables teaching how not to judge by appearance and explaining how the world got the light of the moon.

When the floor was opened to a question and answer session, several asked questions — but one student only had a comment.

“You guys should come back next year,” she said.

Hoping to continue its initiative in the next fiscal year, the charity fund is sponsoring a Spring Gospel Celebration Concert at the Kenbridge Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 9, as a fundraiser. Tickets are $10 per adult and $5 per student.